Guest Blogger: Antonio Zuccaro
My name is Antonio Zuccaro, I am 26 years old, I live in Napoli in the south of Italy and I have a deep passion for magic. I first fell in love with it when I was 8 years old thanks to my brother who did the 21 card trick for me.
During the following years, I watched magicians on television almost each time there was one, I bought many magic sets for beginners and then, when I was 14, I bought Mark Wilson’s Full Course In Magic. I started practicing tricks with many “traditional” props (cards, coins, sponge balls, ropes) but it didn’t take long for playing cards to cast their spell on me. I soon found card magic to be something unique and fascinating, so I decided to specialize in this area of the craft.
At 18 years old I started studying Roberto Giobbi’s excellent Card College series, which I consider a must for anyone who wants to seriously learn card magic, then one day, I stumbled upon a packet trick called “Jumping Gemini”, which was created by the man who I consider to be one of my main inspirations in magic, Darwin Ortiz. I liked the trick so much that I decided to take a look at Darwin’s magic. I bought his very first video, Darwin Ortiz At The Card Table. After a few minutes watching the tape I said to myself, “Ok, this is what I want to do when I grow up!”. Darwin made me appreciate what can be done with a pack of playing cards and how far passion and dedication for the subject can bring you. Moreover, he started my interest in cheating techniques and gambling demonstrations, which is an area of card magic, which I absolutely love.
Allow me for a little digression here; many magicians seem to dismiss gambling demonstrations because they consider them to be boring or because people may just not be interested in the subject. Well, think about this, what do you think a layperson would associate the image of a deck of cards with first? Card games or magic tricks? How many times, at the end of a magic trick, you have heard the sentence “I’d hate to play cards with you! ”
My thought is that the ability to control a deck of cards in order to bend the laws of chance in your favour fascinates lay people, it makes them think “If only I could do that…”. Remember S.W. Erdnase’s quote: “The passion for play is probably as old, and will be as enduring, as the race of man. Some of us are too timid to risk a dollar, but the percentage of people in this feverish nation who would not enjoy winning one is very small.” I feel every magician should know a few such tricks and when the proper occasion arises, he’ll be ready to leave the audience in awe.
Ok, let’s get back in track:
A few years later, on a Saturday afternoon I happened to find a video on YouTube named “Michael Vincent Presents Everywhere and Nowhere” by pure chance. I assume you have heard that name before. That guy had everything; he was elegant, charming, insanely skilled and most importantly, magical. Another very important chapter of my development in magic had just started. Little did I know that, a few years later, I would’ve started corresponding with him, Darwin Ortiz and with many of my other heroes in magic. Other inspirational magicians for me were Dai Vernon, Martin Nash, Edward Marlo, Bébel and Derek Dingle.
In 2011 I got my first book published by Vanishing Inc. Magic. It is called “Finding The Center” and features the explanation of a personal method for executing The Center Deal, a legendary cheating technique which allows the card cheat to deal cards from the middle of the deck.
Question 1: What are your top three effects in magic and why?
That is a tough choice to make. I would mention the following three tricks: Triumph, the Color Changing Deck and the Ambitious Card.
Triumph: I like this trick so much because, on a deep level, I think it conveys an important message: the fight between order and chaos with order being the winner. Sure, it is only a card trick, but I honestly think people could relate the power to “make all of the cards to get back in order” with other aspects of their lives.
The Color Changing Deck: I’d like to thank my friend Michael Vincent for allowing me to find the right definition of why I think this trick is great: “The Power Of Assumptions”. In a blue to red color changing deck routine, the audience believes to have seen so many blue backs throughout the trick that they assume that the deck you are using is blue. It has to be blue. The initial condition (a blue deck) is so strongly cemented in their mind that the final revelation comes totally unexpected. I consider it to be a moment of very strong magic.
The Ambitious Card: How can an effect be easier to follow and direct than that? A selected card is cleanly inserted in the middle of the deck and, after a magical gesture, it now is back on top. I think this plot allows for many presentational approaches (a display of card control, travelling back in time, the card getting back to the top because of the connection with the spectator, just to name a few) and, properly staged, it can be a real show stopper. Just watch Tommy Wonder
My goal is making the audience experience something unique and feel that sense of amazement we all want to create as magicians for our audiences. I want them to watch something they have never seen before and, hopefully, which they will remember for a long time. It is not as easy as it sounds, but that is my ultimate goal.
Question 3: What are you currently doing to leave the craft of magic a little bit better than you found it?
I consider myself as a self-learned magician, in the sense that I have never had the privilege of having a “magic teacher”, a mentor being physically there with me who could teach me the techniques, how to behave in front of an audience and so on. I learnt everything on my own thanks to books and videos.
Only a few years ago I have had the privilege, thanks to the magic of Internet, of sharing ideas or asking for suggestions to those who I consider to be my mentors but live in other countries, unfortunately. When a young magician asks me a question or when someone shows me a particular trick or move he has been working on and may have some problems with it, I try to be as helpful as I can. I tell them sources from which they can study the technique from. If I can do the sleight myself I will try and explain to them how to overcome their obstacles, I may give suggestions about how I think they could improve the particular trick they are doing and so on. I see no reason at all why we should be arrogant towards other magicians, why we should not answer their questions or give help just because “we are so great that we can’t waste our time with them”. Unfortunately, this is an attitude which I have seen more than once and, in all honesty, I can’t understand at all.
This concludes our conversation for today. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and, if you want to know a little more about me, here are a few links for your consideration:
Follow Antonio on Facebook:
Visit his YouTube Channel
Check Out his Book Finding The Centre.
“Finding The Center”
Mike’s Guest Blog Commentary
I must confess, when I first saw him perform on Yout Tube, I was blown away by his technical accomplishment, considering how young he was at the time. When I saw him perform the routine “The Sting”, I was inspired to master the routine and Riffle Stacking. I thought,“if this young kid can do this very demanding routine, there is no excuses for me not to”. So, a big thank you to you my friend for giving me the impetus to mastering this routine.
In reading Anotnio’s Blog Post, I am present to the fact that he is part of the so called You Tube generation of magicians coming through learning magic online and yet his approach to learning is firmly rooted in the classic books and classic traditions of magic and card magic in general. Most magicians of a similar age would get their information from the internet and leave it at that. In Antonio’s case, he went right back to the DVDs and books to further his education.
What I admire most is the fact that he saw Darwin Ortiz and myself on You Tube and took the initiative to make contact with us both. As a result, we have become friends. Antonio is now part of an exclusive group featuring myself, Darwin and a few other world class card men who share ideas regularly.
In his answer to my final question, I can see that Antonio is mindful and supportive of younger magicians and that his journey is only just beginning. He is a new voice in contemporary card magic and one whose message has garnered high praise from Darwin Ortiz and Jack Carpenter.
Antonio Zuccaro is a talent worthy of your attention, he will be around for a long time to come.